The Vladislav Hall
Part of the Royal Palace, the magnificent Vladislav Hall, which is almost 500 years old, is one of the most important parts of Prague Castle because some of the most significant national events have taken place there. The chamber first served as the Hall of Homage to the Czech kings. Today, the Vladislav Hall is where the presidents of the Czech Republic, and previously Czechoslovakia, are sworn in.
The Vladislav Hall, including the impressive rib vaulting, was built in the Late Gothic style by Benedikt Ried, and in its time was the largest secular hall in Prague, measuring 62 metres long, 16 metres wide and 13 metres high. The hall was built to the orders of Vladislav Jagiello, King of Bohemia, when he took the decision to move the Royal Court from the Old Town back to Prague Castle. The new hall stood on the site of three rooms on the second floor of Charles Palace. Construction work started in 1486 and finished in 1502.
The hall was mainly used for ceremonial purposes, where homage was paid to monarchs after coronation ceremonies. Assemblies of the Bohemian Estates also took place in the Vladislav Hall. The coronation ceremonies featured tournaments between knights, as evidenced by the famous Rider’s Staircase, by which the knights entered the hall on horseback. On days when no ceremonies were held, the Vladislav Hall served as a large covered space connecting the royal offices and the assembly rooms.
Under Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II, the Vladislav Hall was used for social events and markets where luxurious foods and artistic items were traded, as shown by an engraving by Egidius Sadeler of 1607.
From a staircase in the southwestern corner of the Vladislav Hall there is access to the Ludvík Wing, added to the Old Royal Palace by Vladislav and Ludvík Jagiello at the beginning of the sixteenth century, to the designs of Benedikt Ried.